The Ineffability of a Hug

The Ineffability of a Hug

BEHIND THE SCENES:

 

SETTING: This morning, 6:30. Jan is sitting at her computer. Steve walks in with a cup of coffee.

STEVE: Are you going to walk this morning?

JAN: No, I’m going to work on a blog.

STEVE (Happy to know she’s writing): What are you going to write about?

JAN: “The Ineffability of a Hug.”

STEVE: Ohhh…what are you going to say?

JAN (after a slight pause): I don’t want to talk about it, because I’ll cry. That’s why I just want to get it all written in words.

STEVE (walks out of the room, sipping his coffee): Okay. 

I wrote that little scene to “show” the emotions behind my thoughts on hugs. Because to put it into words will be difficult–ineffable.

This past weekend, Tommy and Allie stayed with Steve and me while Adam and Emily went to Cleveland to look for a house. As you might imagine, the weekend was filled with joy, sadness, a few meltdowns (admittedly by each and every one of us at one point or another), and lots of memories.

But, I managed to hold back the tears through most of it, torn between whether it’s a good thing to let Tommy and Allie know how much I’ll miss them, or whether it would scare them to see Grandma cry.

The only time my eyes burned so hot, my lump in my throat got so big, and my eyes went from watering to brimming and overflowing were those times that Allie crawled into my lap, often saying, “I love you, Grandma.”

Just typing the words brings tears back to my eyes.

As I felt her head pressed against my chest, as I buried my nose in the scent of her hair, as I felt the weight of her little body pressed against mine, a flood of thoughts and memories filled me up and carried me away to the past and future.

When my children were small, and especially if I was experiencing some sort of challenge, like a day full of tantrums, or a night full of wakings, I remember holding them and rocking them, their heads pressed against my chest. I wondered if they could hear my heartbeat, and if it might comfort them.

But most of all, I remember telling myself it would all be over too quickly, and that even though I was tired and even though their crying might have interrupted sleep and I had to be up for work early in the morning, someday I would miss those hugs.

I imagined myself into the future, at a time when I truly did miss their childhood and their hugs. From that future, I imagined transporting myself back in time so that I could be with them as children again, feeling their little bodies, their unconditional love, smelling the scent of them, and listening to the sound of their breaths become rhythmic as they fell asleep.

So, as I hug any of my four grandchildren now, I’m back to the far, far future. Farther than I’d ever imagined as I used to hug my little kids.

Now, the brevity of childhood is no longer in my imagination. I know it all too well, which makes the hugs even more precious and dear.

Last night, I had a dream. It started out with a large group of people sitting on either side of long tables. We were to choose to sit across from a person whose story we wanted to know.

I suspect the dream had to do with the loss I’ve felt about the isolation of this pandemic–that it’s been so long since I’ve been able to sit across the table from someone and just talk.

As I sat, I began to talk to someone about sailing to Tortola. I was excited about the conversation, because I’ve been to Tortola twice, and I knew we’d have adventures to share.

But then, Allie came up to me and asked to sit in my lap. She crawled up and I wrapped my arms around her. As I felt her body drift to sleep, the conversations around me softened and the people began to blur, until all that was left to the dream was the hug.

Ineffable.

JAM SESSION with Kathleen Rodgers

JAM SESSION with Kathleen Rodgers

 

Born and raised in Clovis, New Mexico, Kathleen M. Rodgers is a novelist whose stories and essays have appeared in Family Circle Magazine, Military Times, and in anthologies published by McGraw-Hill, University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books, Health Communications, Inc., AMG Publishers, and Press 53. She has just completed her fourth novel, The Flying Cutbacks.

 

One Question–My Experiment

Recently, after a couple of Zoom conversations with my friend, Kathleen Rodgers, I thought it might be fun to record conversations with author friends about their thoughts on writing and their recent work or novels.

(SEE OUR “CHAT” BELOW!)

After weeks of thinking about it and trying to find a good time, I finally jumped in and interviewed Kathy about her latest novel, The Flying Cutterbucks.

The conversation was intended to be just that –- a conversation, and not an overly formatted interview. This made it both exciting and scary.  Though I did have a couple of questions in mind to ask, Kathy didn’t have a heads up about what I would be asking.  I think you’ll see in the video, it really was spontaneous–especially by the fact I didn’t even have a title for the “episode” yet. But we had fun, and hopefully, viewers will learn a little bit about Kathy, her novel and her writing process.

Though we had intended to limit this episode to 15 minutes, thinking many people may not have the time to watch anything longer, as often happens when we talk, one topic begat another, and we talked on and on.

Next time, perhaps I’ll set a timer, a proverbial hook to pull the performers off the stage. 🙂

This little challenge of “one topic begetting another” also led me to ask more than “One Question,” which is why I edited my title page to add, “or two, or three, or four…”

Obviously, I have some work to do as an interviewer.

So, I hope you’ll forgive my lack of polish and precision, and instead, will enjoy being a “fly on the wall” of my conversation with my very talented author friend!

Feel free to leave your comments about the video, including any critique. I’m always open to new ideas!

Thank you for watching!

For more information on Kathleen M. Rodgers and her books,
please visit her website  www.kathleenmrodgers.com